Driver Youth Trust attended the Telegraph Festival of Education at Wellington College on the 22nd and 23rd June 2017. Director, Chris Rossiter delivered a talk entitled why dyslexia doesn’t exist, reflecting on recent debates and controversies surrounding the definition, identification and prevalence. The slides from the presentation are below;

  • 15.6% total number with SpLD
  • 25.0% is the number of 15 year olds on SEND support with SpLD as primary need, compared with 10.8% of 7 year olds.
  • 4.0% of children and young people with SpLD have a EHCP or statement.

In the UK prevalence is typically regarded as 10%, in American it is reported that this number is more like 20%. There seems to be consensus that anything from 2-6% are severe.

“Prevalence” is the proportion of a population who have (or had) a specific characteristic in a given time period – in medicine, typically an illness, a condition, or a risk factor such as depression or smoking.

Prevalence is calculated if one has information on the characteristics of the entire population of interest (this is rare in medicine).

Prevalence is estimated if one has information on samples of the population of interest.

For a simple representative sample, prevalence is the number of people in the sample with the characteristic of interest, divided by the total number of people in the sample.

68.2% of the population fall within one standard deviation from the mean. 95% of people fall within two standard deviations from the mean. 99.7% of the population fall within three standard deviations from the mean.

Rose = Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.

SpLD = affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia (SEND CoP, 2015).

DSM = Specific Learning Disorder is a developmental disorder that begins by school-age, although it may not be recognized until later. It involves ongoing problems learning key academic skills, including reading, writing and math.


See part 2 for Senior Teaching Consultant; Jules Daulby’s speech.

If you would like any more information on any of the above or have any enquiries please e-mail and a member of the team will get back to you.